It was billed as the game of the round, being the grand final rematch, and it lived up to those expectations, with the Manly Sea Eagles beating the New Zealand Warriors in an entertaining affair at Eden Park.

The match well and truly went down to the wire, with the Warriors almost staging a late comeback, before a Glenn Stewart try sealed the win for Manly.

In his first game as Manly coach, Manly legend Geoff Toovey knows that the game was close and could have gone either way.

“We got away to a great start and then we just fell away in regards to our execution,” said Toovey.

“We started speculating a bit and the Warriors are a great side. You leave that little gap open and they’re going to take it, so it was very nervous.”

He also sees the first win as crucial and important for his side.

“It’s always tough, travelling here to New Zealand, playing a great side,” Toovey said.

“If you give them a sniff, they will take it and that’s what nearly happened today to us.”

Despite the win for Manly however, there are some concerns over the fitness of centre Steve Matai, after he went off with a fractured thumb.

There was also an injury concern for Warriors centre Jerome Ropati, who only returned from injury himself – with the centre suffering a high ankle sprain.

For Warriors coach Brian McClennan, he sees the lack of composure from his young side, as the key factor as to why the club lost.

“We put too much ball down early in the sets,” he said.

“I think we played with about 60 per cent ball control and you’re not going to win many footy game with that, particularly against a club that has been in three of the last five grand finals.”

NRL News Dally M Points

Shaun Johnson – 3
Daly Cherry-Evans – 2
Glenn Stewart – 1

By ricky

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